One doesn’t commonly associate the slogan“make love not war” with the U.
Indeed, the United States military is fearedand formidable precisely because it has proven so effective at conceptualizing clever andinnovative ways to search, find and destroy, often with the simple push of a button.
However, in a departure from these hostiletraditions, in 1994 the Wright Laboratory, part of the U.
Air Force, produced a threepage proposal for a “gay bomb”.
Documentation obtained by the Sunshine Project, an anti-biological weapons non-governmental organization, found that the Ohio-based WrightLab requested a 6 year, $7.
5 million grant to create a variety of non-lethal weapons.
The bluntly titled project, called "Harassing, Annoying and 'Bad Guy' Identifying Chemicals” reads like a bawdy proposal penned by a BondVillian- Auric Goldfinger perhaps? It proposed a bomb “that contained a chemicalthat would cause enemy soldiers to become gay, and to have their units break down becauseall their soldiers became irresistibly attractive to one another”.
While the laboratory also came up with similarlyquestionable ideas, such as bad-breath bombs, flatulence bombs and bombs designed to attractswarms of stinging insects to enemy combatants, one has to admit that the gay bomb is certainlythe most novel.
The Pentagon maintains that the love affairwith the gay bomb idea was brief.
However, the Sunshine Project thinks the Pentagondoth protest too much, finding that they “submitted the proposal to the highest scientific reviewbody in the country for them to consider”.
Indeed, the proposal’s information was submittedto the National Academy of Sciences in 2002.
The Pentagon certainly admits giving the projectconsideration, releasing a statement affirming: "The department of defence is committed toidentifying, researching and developing non-lethal weapons that will support our men and womenin uniform.
" Nonetheless, the project never made it offthe ground.
But the question remains: how did they evencome up with such an idea? Perhaps the best clue lies in the politicalclimate at the time.
When newly elected President Bill Clintonattempted to lift the ban on homosexuals in the military, there was a din of saber rattling, pitchfork sharpening and moral hand-wringing from the military brass.
The general consensus among many leaders ofthe military was touted by the Department of Defence, "Homosexuality is incompatiblewith military service.
" And that allowing gay people in the militarywould pose a security risk and disrupt the needed order for the military to be effective.
Theresulting Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (later fully called Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Don'tPursue, and Don't Harass) compromise, which has since been struck down, was less thanthrilling for the Pentagon at time.
In such a political climate, with rampantunfounded paranoia about gay people disrupting military discipline and morale, this projectseems, notwithstanding its highly flawed premise, somewhat more understandable in terms of howthey came up with the idea and why they believed it might be an effective weapon.
As to the science behind this military farce, while various companies, peddling scented sprays and rub-ons, find it expedient to claimthat their product contains human pheromones which have an aphrodisiac effect, lab testinghas lagged behind somewhat in actually confirming any of this.
Admittedly, one section of the documents, entitled “New Discoveries Needed” acknowledges that, thus far, no such chemicals have beenfound to exist.
While the Gay Bomb project never became perhapsmore than a pie in the sky dream of the Wright Lab, it has gained a second lease on lifethrough news media, popular culture and even academia.
The news of this proposed weapon of mass de-lovin'even spawned a musical, disappointingly entitled “Gay Bomb – The Musical”.
Why they chose this title, as opposed to say“Brothers-in-Arms”, “Das Booty”, or “Saving Ryan’s Privates” is a mysterywe may never solve.
For the attempt at making a gay bomb, theWright Lab had the honor of winning the Ig Nobel Peace Prize in 2007.
As the prize is organized by the Annals ofImprobable Research, it seems to be an excellent home for the project, though perhaps a stepdown from the National Academy of Sciences.
Among other 2007 IG Nobel prize winners wereMayu Yamamoto (Chemistry), awarded for extracting vanilla flavour from cow dung, and Dan Meyerand Brian Witcombe, (Medicine) awarded for researching the side effects of swallowingswords.
The levity of the event seemed lost on thegay bomb creators, however, who kept a straight face about the whole matter; they declinedto attend the award ceremony to accept the prize personally.
Bonus Facts:Speaking of the IG Nobel Prizes, they have been given out annually since 1991.
The prizes are presented to the winners byactual Nobel laureates.
One person, Sir Andre Geim, has actually wonboth an IG Nobel Prize (in 2000) and a real Nobel Prize (in 2010).
He won the IG Nobel Prize for an experimentwhere he and another scientist successfully levitated a frog using magnets.
His actual Nobel Prize was won "for groundbreakingexperiments regarding the two-dimensional material graphene".
During the ceremony, each IG Nobel Prize winneris given 60 seconds to explain their research.
If they go over the time, a little girl, "MissSweetie Poo", will walk up to them and yell "Please stop: I'm bored" continually untilthe speaker stops.
It was also once traditional for audiencemembers to throw paper airplanes at the stage while the ceremony was taking place, but thispractice has, unfortunately, died out in recent years due to safety concerns.
Some more awesome examples of work that resultedin people winning IG Nobel Prizes includes: • Economics: To a group that discoveredthat strippers earn more when they are at their peak fertility than otherwise.
One can only imagine the significant timethey had to spend at strip clubs FOR SCIENCE!!! • Fluid Dynamics: To researchers who calculatedthe pressure build up inside penguins before they defecate.
The report was titled: "Pressures ProducedWhen Penguins Poo—Calculations on Avian Defecation".
• Aviation: For the discovery that givingViagra to hamsters helps them recover more quickly from jet lag.
• Biology: The discovery that a certainkind of beetle is attracted to and will try to mate with certain kinds of Australian beerbottles.
The bottles these beetles are attracted toare brown with "bobbly bits".
• Medicine: For the discovery that whenpeople have a strong urge to pee, they consistently make better decisions with certain types ofthings and worse decisions with other kinds of things.
• Medicine: For the development of replacementtesticles for castrated dogs, which are available in a variety of sizes and levels of firmness.
• Peace: To the mayor of Vilnius, Lithuania, Arturas Zuokas, for discovering that running over illegally parked luxury cars with tankscan effectively get rid of the problem of illegally parked cars.
(Video Here)• Medicine: Prize given to Donald L.
Unger for steadfastly only cracking the knuckleson one hand and not the other for 50 years in order to determine whether cracking knucklescan be a cause for arthritis in fingers.
• Astrophysics: For a paper illustratingthat black holes fulfill all the technical requirements to be the location of biblicalHell, a.